Welcome to The Black Coffee Company (BCC) Blog. My name is Branden Cole, one of the co-founders of BCC. We are going to kick things off with BUDGETING.
At this point in life, we all love vacations! Time away from work or school, spending time with those we love most, and overall, just doing something that didn’t seem possible 10-15 years ago. I mean, from my perspective at least, there were very few of my friends taking family vacations as I was coming up… and even during college, spring break excursions were a slim maybe. Why didn’t we have money to do things, especially since folks were working? I had to figure out what others did to free up money for these trips away from it all!
So, what’s changed and why are we even talking about vacations? Well, lifestyles have changed! Vacations create the memories by which we pay for the countless hours we endure working for people that often attempt to minimize our rightful place in the hierarchy. BUT…… vacations cost. Houses cost, kids cost, there are student loans, car loans, ambitions to quit our day jobs, side projects, HBCU homecomings, weddings, alumni giving campaigns, and this list goes on. How can we do all these things when we’ve started behind the curve; indebted and slave to our overwhelming financial responsibilities?
Math! Mathematics has been a prevailing notion (science) since the dawn of time. Why can’t we use simple math to figure out how to survive and thrive?
“But how do we use math?”
Aha!!!! That is the right question. Budgeting is mathematics and not only that, it is the easy type of mathematics. No need for a fancy formula or even a proficiency with the subject itself. Inflows – outflows = free cash flow (FCF). What are you bringing in each month? How much do you pay out each month? If you have recurring debt, when do you WANT to pay that off? What makes sense for your family or situation? If you are making payments of $XXX.XX/month and you owe for the next 3 years, how much in interest will that draw from your FCF? Are you even paying attention to your interest rate? Budgeting…. God’s Plan! (I said that because Drake is hot in these streets) …. but really, less words ends up meaning more! He says God’s plan, I say budgeting... it should hit just as hard! Creating the budget is the simple part (in fact, see our website for a sample budget in excel). Keeping to the budget requires goals, ambitions, and a sheer desire to start or leave a legacy!
“Sure, but what does all this mean, and you know we like to hear success stories and see it work out for our neighbor before we are ready to give it a go? “
Of course we knew that…. And as you should! We only want to enable the process of thinking about these concepts. We are enablers here at BCC. We want to enable financial freedom, but how can we do that if we don’t start with small scale, actionable, results driven conversation starters? Budgeting, like anything else worth it, takes time and effort. Results may seem slow, but they are real. Start with weekly minor changes to your spending habits. Tell yourself that certain expenditures are NOT in the budget. Buy frugally and get the off brand sometimes. What is the worst that could happen? See how you’ve done in just one week and decide if it is worth it. Most of us do a cost/benefit analysis each day without even knowing it. These concepts aren’t new (just like my sneakers, because I am budgeting), but they have provided me with the ability to be about $10K away from debt-free-ness 😊 (yep I made that up). Early 30s, a couple of kids, bought and sold a home, purchased an investment property, founding member of an investment club, $5-10k in savings (very meager, I know ☹), trying my hand at a startup, and educating my people, whom I love with all my heart…… God’s plan (budgeting helps). That’s my life and that’s my story, minus all the other super fun stuff I do. My people, I leave you with this mandate… Live well, budget, and strive!